ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Fillon, Macron, Le Pen… jouent les « Robin des riches »
by Pierre Duquesne and Gregory Marin
Translated Sunday 16 April 2017, by
Fillon promises 50 billion in tax cuts. The second, Macron, 20 billion. But they are careful not to say who will pay the bill. As for the FN, it stubbornly refuses to tax the rich.
“We should stop using taxation as a punitive weapon,” François Fillon proclaimed again on Wednesday in Lyon. He promises to give 40 billion euros to businesses and owners of capital, especially through the reduction in corporate tax (to 25%), and the elimination of the tax on wealth (ISF). To families, he offers a 10 billion drop in “tax on labour.” But he is careful not to point out by what all that will be offset. This “tax break” will initially be funded “by the necessary reduction of public spending,” he wrote in his program.
The tax cuts will also be “compensated” by an increase in the sales tax, that will rise from to 22% from 20%. “No one realizes it when they pay that tax”, say economists Henri Sterdyniak and Dany Lang. But the sales tax is an unfair tax because it affects more the poor (who consume all their income) than the richest (who save). Specifically, the 10% poorest see 12.5% of their income swallowed up by this indirect income tax. The tax hammer with Fillon will strike every day in the supermarket! The candidate of the right “will take 300 euros per year from the pocket of every employee paid at the minimum wage” stated Jean-Luc Mélenchon. And what else will Fillon do? “He will give back 15,000 euros per year to each millionaire in France! ” As if that was not enough, wealthier people will benefit from a discount of 2.5 billion euros on their income tax through “raising the ceiling of the family quotient.”
Emmanuel Macron, likewise, did not forget to care for the rich. At first glance, his fiscal program is less brutal. He did not want to touch the sales tax, but still pampers shareholders. These will now be exempt from wealth tax, which will apply only to real estate (excluding primary residence). That’s not all. He invented a new type of tax shield for income from bank interest, dividends, capital gains and any income from movable capital. These would therefore taxed at a flat rate of 30%, including social security contributions and income tax. This principle of “flat tax”, which is also found in the program of François Fillon, constitutes an offering of $ 3 billion to the richest. To get closer to the people, the former banker has indeed promised a reduction in residence tax (10 billion euros) for households of working and middle classes. Except that in reality 40% of households already are exempt from this tax. It is not clear that in the end households will benefit from this measure.
As for the Front National, it also surfs on ambiguities.
While it proposes to maintain the ISF (wealth tax), Marine Le Pen’s program, however, plans to cut “low yield taxes” - a class to which the ISF could belong in view of what it yields ... And if Le Pen says she refuses “any increase” of VAT and that she will “decrease by 10% the income tax for the first three lowest tax categories”, she is careful not to mention a drop in the sales tax. She does not advocate either, as Jean-Luc Mélenchon does: a better progressiveness of the income tax ... the FN, never takes anything from the richest! In tax matters, the only clearly visible measures are in their favor. The pretext being that it helps “strengthen intergenerational solidarity,” Le Pen would allow “transmission without taxation of 100,000 euros for each child every five years (instead of fifteen years now), and to increase the ceiling for donations without taxation to grandchildren to 50,000 euros, also every five years.”